Revolutionary War w/ Civil War Force Addition

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Revolutionary War w/ Civil War Force Addition

Post by Chevron_Seven » 2007-11-04 01:34pm

The date is April 18th, 1775.

An omnipotent being pulls together these forces and throw them back into the American Revolution. All these forces have been told where the others are and plan to link up together to discuss what to do as soon as they can meet up. The locals are also made aware of who these troops appearing are so they won’t fire upon them either and will cooperate with them. General Grant is in overall command of these forces with the decision being made later by the Continental Congress and supported by Grant that he will be under the direct authority of Washington and he will coordinate with other generals but his forces will always be under his command. Assume also that Grant’s troops and the other future personnel drop any mention of fighting slavery to avoid confrontation and just decide to assist the rebel cause to their full capability.

1) General Sherman appears near Albany in New York State with an army of 6,000 Union Troops. The Army is equipped with enough supplies to last six months. In addition they have the number of Civil War period cannon that would be consistent for a force of that size. Washington in addition adds 2,000 extra men to Sherman’s Army as weapons and equipment for them becomes available. Sherman’s army will be in charge of the training of these troops and the Continentals will provide replacements as they become available for any losses suffered by Sherman’s Army.

2) Admiral Farragut: Appears just outside New York Harbor with the following force. The screw frigates USS Minnesota, USS Wabash, USS Powhatan, and USS Niagara . The Sloops of War USS Hartford, USS Kearsarge, and USS Pawnee. Plus the gunboats USS Agawam, USS Hatteras, USS Miami, and USS Wyalusing are part of his small fleet. In addition he has the riverine ironclads USS Choctaw, USS Cairo, and the oceangoing monitor USS Dictator as part of his small fleet. Assume that a large stock of coal enough to operate his fleet for two years appears in NYC too.

3) Another company of Union troops appears near Concord under the command of Captain Levi Clark Bootes appears near Concord. Knowing where he is and realizing the British have just clashed with the militia near Lexington. He arrives at the North Bridge and setups an ambush with the militia there.

4) A large foundry and manufacturing compound of the Civil War Period appears near Albany too. This foundry can manufacture Springfield Rifled Muskets at a rate of 100 a day. In addition they can manufacture cannon either naval or land at a rate of five pieces a day. The site also has the personnel and equipment to manufacture parts for Farragut’s fleet. In addition there is a textile plant that can construct uniforms and tents for the troops including the period troops. The compound also has a series farms laid out around it that can provide sufficient food stocks to feed Sherman’s Army year around.

The Continental Ironworks that built the USS Monitor and the workers who worked at it are relocated to the Albany area near the rest of the complex. In addition shipyard facilities large enough to construct two sloops of war at a time are located at the site. Also John Ericsson, Robert P. Parrott, Dr. Gatling, John Dahlgren, and a team of other designers are present at the site. In addition the current entire United States Bullion Depository (Fort Knox) appears safely stored away at this complex for use by Sherman, the Continental Army, and the Congress so they’ll have money for funding their projects and buying supplies. A regiment of engineers appears at the site in Albany. Grant in addition to being in overall command of the site is also directing the training of Continental Army in Civil War tactics at the site. The entire manufacturing complex has enough raw materials stockpiles to keep it running and manufacturing for a period of 6 months. They also have enough rails and supplies stockpiles to build 300 miles of railroad plus equipment to lay it, they have five locomotives, and 300 miles of wire for telegraph lines.

On the American side the addition of these extra forces cements more people to the Patriot cause. Meanwhile the British government, public, and military seeing these new additions to the Continental Forces ends up coming to the conclusion that this Revolutionary sentiment presents a even more serious threat to the Empire. The British decide to toss together every available resource they can from around the Empire and crush the rebellion at all costs before these new resources can help too much.

What happens?

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Post by K. A. Pital » 2007-11-04 02:43pm

What is an ironclad ship and monitor rate of fire and gun armament? Could it's armor be penetrated by British guns of the time?

If it cannot, I guess it's over for the British Navy. And then, for their plans to crush the US.

A 2-year coal operation reserve gives them ridiculous capabilities.
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Post by Master_Baerne » 2007-11-04 03:03pm

If the river monitors cannot be destroyed by Royal Navy armament, then they will be boarded. Being crewed by sailors, and possessing no marines of their own, they will be captured and turned against the enemy. Alternatively, they will be scuttled, and that helps only the British.

The Civil War armies will be vastly outnumbered if, as you suggest, the entire resources of the British Empire are set against them. It would be the kind of stand-up fight His Majesty's Army is trained for, and hugely superior numbers of men, artillery, and supplies will mean defeat for the Union forces.

I'm not sure whether Great Britain has begun using Indian troops yet; if so, the overwhelming numbers will become even more so.

Great Britain, as one of the most industrialized nations in the world (IIRC), should have no problem reverse-engineering captured Union weapons. Effectively, this scenario only makes British domination of the world for the next hundred years more likely.
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Post by That NOS Guy » 2007-11-04 03:32pm

Master_Baerne wrote:If the river monitors cannot be destroyed by Royal Navy armament, then they will be boarded. Being crewed by sailors, and possessing no marines of their own, they will be captured and turned against the enemy. Alternatively, they will be scuttled, and that helps only the British.
How do the British get close enough? If the Americans can so throughly dominate the Hudson (on top of controlling West Point and Ft. Ticonderoga) the British are going to be hardpressed to attack the Americans primary source of supply: Albany.

The Americans can only get stronger.
Master_Baerne wrote: The Civil War armies will be vastly outnumbered if, as you suggest, the entire resources of the British Empire are set against them. It would be the kind of stand-up fight His Majesty's Army is trained for, and hugely superior numbers of men, artillery, and supplies will mean defeat for the Union forces.
With shrapnel shells, far longer ranged (and accurate weapons), and better understanding of entrenched warfare then the British this serves to mitigate most of the advantage. This goes on top of contiental forces which can be equipped with Civil War-era machinery and new ships.

Also, Britian is still forced to keep large amounts of forces at home to defend against the French (who would surely leap at this news to ally with America) and to quell possible revolts in Scotland and Ireland. Even if the British raise more troops (remember, no draft) to fight this unpopular war, there's still the issue of the French navy and the crushingly advanced American navy.

Remember, CSS Virginia buried 4 of the Unions best ships singlehandedly at Hampton Roads, how do you think the British are going to fare when they're completely reliant on sail power?
Master_Baerne wrote: I'm not sure whether Great Britain has begun using Indian troops yet; if so, the overwhelming numbers will become even more so.
Sepoys are still badly needed in India at this time.
Master_Baerne wrote: Great Britain, as one of the most industrialized nations in the world (IIRC), should have no problem reverse-engineering captured Union weapons. Effectively, this scenario only makes British domination of the world for the next hundred years more likely.
Tech that's 60 years from the future? That's quite a leap.

I think the real question here is how is the slavery issue handaled post-war.

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Post by Chevron_Seven » 2007-11-04 05:26pm

Stas Bush wrote:What is an ironclad ship and monitor rate of fire and gun armament? Could it's armor be penetrated by British guns of the time?
A Rundown on the Ironclads... the armament on some of them especialy the first two river craft varied during the war so just assume this is the configuration they come back with:

USS Choctaw:
Dimensions: length 260', beam 69', draft 8'
Displacement: 1,004 tons
Speed: 7 knots
Crew: 106
Armor: 2" casemate, 1" rear casemate, 1" sides, 2" pilothouse
Armed with:
1 × 100 pounder (45 kg) rifle,
3 × 9 in (229 mm) smoothbore cannon,
2 × 30 pounder (14 kg) rifles

USS Cairo:
Dimensions: length 175', beam 51'2", draft 6'
Displacement: 888 tons
Speed: 8 knots
Crew: 175
Armor: 2 ½" casemate forward and sides, 1 ¼" pilothouse
Armament: 6 × 32 pounder (15 kg) cannons, 3 × 8 Dahlgren in (203 mm) smoothbore cannons, 4 × 42 pounder rifled cannons, 1 × 12 pounder howitzer

USS Dictator:

Single turret monitor
Dimensions: length 314', beam 50', draft 20'6"
Displacement: 4,438 tons
Speed: 10 knots (15 intended)
Crew: 174
Armor: 15" turret, 6" sides, 1 ½" deck, 12" pilothouse
Armament: Two 15" Dahlgren smoothbores

The armor on the Choctaw was noted for being fairly weak and probably some period cannon could break the armor on either her or the Cairo if you could bring a heavy enough gun to bear on them. Dictator on the otherhand was much better armored and really the pinnacle of Civil War monitors. However her two 15" Dahlgren guns were slow to reload. You are probably looking at a rate of fire of one shot every 2 to 3 minutes. Though someone else may have better figures on that.

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Post by Sidewinder » 2007-11-04 06:12pm

Stas Bush wrote:What is an ironclad ship and monitor rate of fire and gun armament? Could it's armor be penetrated by British guns of the time?
During the Battle of Hampton Roads, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) spent hours blasting away at each other, AT CLOSE RANGE, and failing to penetrate the enemy ironclad's armor. This is with Civil War era weapons. I doubt Revolutionary War era weapons will be more useful-- the Royal Navy will be ass-raped by USN ironclads.
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Post by Frank Hipper » 2007-11-04 06:41pm

The disadvantages facing a sailing fleet firing solid iron shot from relatively small-to-tiny smoothbore guns against steam powered, shell firing, armored ships reduce any hope numbers could give to nothing.
Steam and shell guns on their own are monumental advantages.

USS Niagra alone would be a practically unassailable opponent to any sailing fleet, she could determine range and bearing entirely at her pleasure.
Placing herself in a raking position she could pour explosive shell into targets that could offer no resistance.

USS Dictator would be absolutely invulnerable in any situation outside of an engagement in a storm in deep water, a single hit from a 15 inch explosive shell on even the biggest first rate could be decisive.
Dictator's 10 knots is a speed at which no sailing fleet could fight, even if the weather permitted it; ships of the line had to fight under reduced sail due to the dangers of fire and dismasting too much canvas presented.
The RN of the late 18th century didn't possess a single weapon that could do more than make ringing sounds on her armor, even at point-blank range. Britain's heaviest guns, 68 pdr carronades and the few (if any) 42 pdr long guns that still remained, would be completely useless.
Last edited by Frank Hipper on 2007-11-04 06:44pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by That NOS Guy » 2007-11-04 06:42pm

Sidewinder wrote: During the Battle of Hampton Roads, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) spent hours blasting away at each other, AT CLOSE RANGE, and failing to penetrate the enemy ironclad's armor. This is with Civil War era weapons. I doubt Revolutionary War era weapons will be more useful-- the Royal Navy will be ass-raped by USN ironclads.
Not quite true, several of the Virginia's plates were cracked and the Monitor's Dahlgrens weren't firing at full strength (or firing explosive shells for the matter).

But yeah, revolutionary cannon not only aren't as accurate or long ranged, they just have lower hitting power.

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Post by Sea Skimmer » 2007-11-04 10:30pm

Master_Baerne wrote:If the river monitors cannot be destroyed by Royal Navy armament, then they will be boarded. Being crewed by sailors, and possessing no marines of their own, they will be captured and turned against the enemy. Alternatively, they will be scuttled, and that helps only the British.
How exactly do sailing ships and rowboats board a ship with superior speed and absurdly superior overall mobility owing to its ability to sail against the wind? Those Confederate Plans to capture Monitor required a whole armada of steam launches working on concert, while Virginia was used to draw fire.

No, that’s not going to happen, instead the Union ironclads are going to annihilate any British ship that happens to come around, and even the wooden ships could destroy just about anything they came across. You know, the lightest gun which was considered a significant naval weapon in the US Civil War was a 32 pounder, and that’s one of the heaviest weapons any British ship is going to have in this scenario!
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Post by Stark » 2007-11-04 10:36pm

I don't get the point of this thread. The revolutionaries won the war of independence... so... why give them super advantages? Oh look, they won again! Even easier! Didn't even need British incompetence! :roll:

Or am I just forgetting the American obsession factor?

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Post by K. A. Pital » 2007-11-04 11:22pm

After that Aurora in American Revolution thread, for some reason people decided to really go overboard with teleporting advanced technology in the past.

With the same result always: the enemy is easily slaughtered. :lol:
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Post by Chevron_Seven » 2007-11-04 11:23pm

Stark wrote:I don't get the point of this thread. The revolutionaries won the war of independence... so... why give them super advantages? Oh look, they won again! Even easier! Didn't even need British incompetence! :roll:
We won by a lot of luck, French intervention, and the fact that the British weren't focusing their full attention on crushing us into the ground.

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Post by Stark » 2007-11-04 11:36pm

And now you've got nigh-invincible warships and a technology advantage. America, FUCK YEAH! :lol:

Stas, clearly 'bolsheviks in colonial USA with a nigh invincible warship' was a little bit too not America, FUCK YEAH focused for some. :) Now it's America, FUCK YEAH, but with more Americans (FUCK YEAH) helping them out from the future! :lol:

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Post by MKSheppard » 2007-11-05 01:53am

AMERICA FUCK YEAH
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Post by Master of Ossus » 2007-11-05 02:04am

The only real question is whether or not the American military would be able to mount a serious attack on Canada. The Royal Navy has no chance against the Civil War ships (their weapons had trouble handling Constitution, for crying out loud).
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Post by Sea Skimmer » 2007-11-05 02:27am

Constitution and other ships of her class only had to stand up to 9 pounder and 18 pounder guns on British frigates, they ran away every time they came up against a British 64 or 74 which would have mounted much heavier guns. Not that this will matter, but thats the reality of it.
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Post by Adrian Laguna » 2007-11-05 05:14am

That NOS Guy wrote:
Sidewinder wrote: During the Battle of Hampton Roads, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) spent hours blasting away at each other, AT CLOSE RANGE, and failing to penetrate the enemy ironclad's armor.
Not quite true, several of the Virginia's plates were cracked and the Monitor's Dahlgrens weren't firing at full strength (or firing explosive shells for the matter).
The designer of the Monitor was enraged when he heard about the battle. According to him, Virginia would have been handily defeated had the crew used explosive shot and aimed for the water-line. They used solid shot and aimed for the upper works.

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Post by Chevron_Seven » 2007-11-05 09:42am

Frank Hipper: USS Niagra alone would be a practically unassailable opponent to any sailing fleet, she could determine range and bearing entirely at her pleasure.
Placing herself in a raking position she could pour explosive shell into targets that could offer no resistance.
Steam is a massive advantage but it isn't the overwhelming one that some people are making it sound like in this thread. Under good conditions most of those steamships could pull around 10 to 12 knots into the wind so they could easily pull away from a British ship that is chasing them. On the other hand with a good wind HMS Victory could make 8 to 9 knots for example. A good sailing frigate like the USS United States could make 13 1/2 knots. So the sailing ships could really come close to matching or outrunning a steam vessel when they have the wind on their side. The final issue with steam is it wasn't very reliable at this point so breakdowns did happen and lucky hits often did disables vessels. So steam is not totally bulletproof.

And the modern guns while an advantage aren't that big of one against ships of line which were designed to take hours of pounding by ships with heavier broadsides than the Union vessels. Congress and Cumberland were both wooden frigates and it took Virgina a fair amount of time to sink both of them. Cumberland was hammered pretty good with gun fire but really wasn't done for until she was rammed. Congress meanwhile grounded herself in shallower water out of reach of Virgina who then pounded her for an hour with hot shot and explosive shells before she surrendered. It tool the USS Kearsarge an hour of straight up fighting before she managed to make the Alabama strike her colors and this was after firing around 150 times at her. These are fairly simple wooden ships that have none of the mass or bulk of a ship of line that would allow them to soak up vastly greater amounts of damage. It would take hours for one of the sloops or steam frigates to cripples a single ship of line. Meanwhile if a SOL ever gets into range and engages one of these ships at close range they will quickly reduce her to a wreck.

Add in the fact that the Civil War vessels only have a couple guns compared to Rev War ships which are bristling with numerous cannon. Sure they are shorter ranged and throw a lot less metal per gun but when you add up an entire broadside they are throwing a lot more metal. One on one the steam frigates could wreck anything the British tossed at them as long as they don't suffer an unlucky machinary failure or the wind suddenly changes on them giving the sailing ship a supperior speed over them. Some of the sloops could do pretty well against a SOL but it wouldn't be quite as clear cut. The sloops would really be best for sending after frigates, other light ships, and scouting missions. A lot of the battle is going to depend on the the wind even in a one on one battle. The problem for the Union Navy though is that they have only a few ships that have to protect an entire coast. The British on the other hand have a lot of inferior ships that they'll be able to concentrate and work in packs together.

If you are in a steam frigate and facing a pack of three or four ships of line escorted by a handful of sloops and frigates you are in a very bad position. You only have enough guns to engage one or two targets at a time. You can grab the weather gauge and force them to tack but you are always running the risk of someone slipping in close enough to do damage to you while you are concentrating on one ship. Or you might be forced up against the coast or into another British squadron. And that's assuming your boiler doesn't pick this moment to fail. A little bad luck and you could end up within range of British long guns and that could spell disaster.

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Post by Big Phil » 2007-11-05 10:50am

Chevron_Seven wrote:snip

The naval force RAR is irrelevant - the British dominated the oceans during the American Revolution, and if they do so again they still won't do any better. Add in rifles, superior range, and explosive ordinance, and the British are well and truly fucked.

If you had mentioned Lever Action rifles or some other form of repeater, I would argue that Sherman might have been able to win the war in a year or two with only his 6,000 soldiers, but with muzzle loading rifles, they're still going to slaughter the limeys.
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Post by Sea Skimmer » 2007-11-05 01:21pm

Adrian Laguna wrote: The designer of the Monitor was enraged when he heard about the battle. According to him, Virginia would have been handily defeated had the crew used explosive shot and aimed for the water-line. They used solid shot and aimed for the upper works.

Umm, no, that is not what he claimed. The waterline of Virginia was the most heavily protected part of the ship and the issue was not the choice of ammo, solid shot was the only thing to use.

Ericsson was enraged because in the battle Monitor only used 15lb powder charges, while the 11in Dahlgren was designed to take up to a 30lb charge. The guns fitted to Monitor however had not been proof fired, and the Navy ordered half charges to be used least a burst gun disable the only Union Ironclad on hand.

Ericsson’s specific claim was that Monitor should have used 30lb charges, held her guns exactly level and fired from 200 yards at the casemate, and that the projectile would have completely penetrated. Actual firing trials conducted latter in the war proved him to be completely correct, and latter Union 11in and 15in Dahlgrens did pierce similar armor on other Confederate casemate rams.
SancheztheWhaler wrote:
Chevron_Seven wrote:snip

The naval force RAR is irrelevant - the British dominated the oceans during the American Revolution, and if they do so again they still won't do any better. Add in rifles, superior range, and explosive ordinance, and the British are well and truly fucked.

If you had mentioned Lever Action rifles or some other form of repeater, I would argue that Sherman might have been able to win the war in a year or two with only his 6,000 soldiers, but with muzzle loading rifles, they're still going to slaughter the limeys.
Actually the supposed range advantage of civil war rifles was in practice almost irrelevant in combat, and rifle armed regiments proved little more effective then those with smoothbores. Everyone still fought at just 100 yards or less, and accuracy was still dismal owing to a lack of ammunition for training. These weapons would simply not be an overwhelming advantage.

However, with American ships rampaging up and down the North American coast, and probably one or two steaming across the Atlantic to shell the Medway, the British wont be able to support a huge army in the field to start with.
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Post by Frank Hipper » 2007-11-05 02:51pm

Chevron_Seven wrote:
Frank Hipper: USS Niagra alone would be a practically unassailable opponent to any sailing fleet, she could determine range and bearing entirely at her pleasure.
Placing herself in a raking position she could pour explosive shell into targets that could offer no resistance.
Steam is a massive advantage but it isn't the overwhelming one that some people are making it sound like in this thread. Under good conditions most of those steamships could pull around 10 to 12 knots into the wind so they could easily pull away from a British ship that is chasing them. On the other hand with a good wind HMS Victory could make 8 to 9 knots for example. A good sailing frigate like the USS United States could make 13 1/2 knots. So the sailing ships could really come close to matching or outrunning a steam vessel when they have the wind on their side. The final issue with steam is it wasn't very reliable at this point so breakdowns did happen and lucky hits often did disables vessels. So steam is not totally bulletproof.
No sailing warship of the 18th century could match Niagra's 14.5 knots.

In the optimal conditions and dangerous amounts of canvas (for a battle situation) that are required for Victory to make 9 knots, or a frigate to make @12, they're limited to a single direction, and Niagra would also be benefitting from that wind.
Even if a sailing fleet manages to run, they won't be achieving their objectives.

Steam need not be "bulletproof" to be a decisive advantage; breakdowns were encountered, but the not all ships' machinery was created equal. Wabash and Minnesota being decidedly inferior to Niagra, for instance.

Also, it should be considered that the Royal Navy resorted to paddle sloops to interdict the slave trade in the 19th century for very good reasons; purpose-built slavers sacrificed nearly everything to speed, yet were helpless when pursued by even fifth rate steamers.
And the modern guns while an advantage aren't that big of one against ships of line which were designed to take hours of pounding by ships with heavier broadsides than the Union vessels. Congress and Cumberland were both wooden frigates and it took Virgina a fair amount of time to sink both of them. Cumberland was hammered pretty good with gun fire but really wasn't done for until she was rammed.
Ramming Cumberland was a coup de grace which only hastened the outcome, not changed it.
Virginia's approach was bows on, as well; her broadside (piddling as it was) was little used on Cumberland.
Congress meanwhile grounded herself in shallower water out of reach of Virgina who then pounded her for an hour with hot shot and explosive shells before she surrendered.
Actually, it was after Congress had surrendered and shore batteries had opened up on Virginia that hot shot was resorterd to.
It tool the USS Kearsarge an hour of straight up fighting before she managed to make the Alabama strike her colors and this was after firing around 150 times at her.
Alabama was exceptionally well-handled, and equal in mobility to Kearsarge; such would not be the case in steam vs sail.
The dud shell lodged in Kearsarge's rudder post only illustrates the "what if" potential of shellfire on wood, too; if that shell had not been years old, had not been subject to nearly every humidity and climate change concievable, it could very easily have been Alabama that won that fight with a single hit.
These are fairly simple wooden ships that have none of the mass or bulk of a ship of line that would allow them to soak up vastly greater amounts of damage.
A SOL has no bulk or mass to protect it when it's being attacked through the glass and decorative carvings of it's stern galleries.
It would take hours for one of the sloops or steam frigates to cripples a single ship of line.
With exceptionally bad handling on the part of the steamship, or extraordinary luck on the part of the sailing battleship, yes.

Yet, one broadside through the stern galleries decided Buccentaure's fate at Trafalgar, after all...9 inch shells are considerably more destructive than even 68 pound iron balls. It would not take many to gut a ship of the line, or massacre it's crew.

I will concede that yes, it would take hours for a SOL to succumb in a broadside to broadside engagement; but that begs the question of why a commander with superior speed, manouverability, and firepower would choose to abandon every advantage he has...
Meanwhile if a SOL ever gets into range and engages one of these ships at close range they will quickly reduce her to a wreck.
It would take exceptional incompetence on the part of a commander whose ship possesses superior manouverability to allow that to happen.
Add in the fact that the Civil War vessels only have a couple guns compared to Rev War ships which are bristling with numerous cannon. Sure they are shorter ranged and throw a lot less metal per gun but when you add up an entire broadside they are throwing a lot more metal.
Again, it would require incompetence on the part of the hypothetical ACW commander to allow his ship to become vulnerable. It's not as if 18th century ship capabilities are an unknown to him.
As to weight of metal, it's not a matter of quantity as it is of quality; Wabash vs a 74 was recognised as a sadly one-sided contest at the time of of her completion, to say nothing of ships of an earlier generation.
One on one the steam frigates could wreck anything the British tossed at them as long as they don't suffer an unlucky machinary failure or the wind suddenly changes on them giving the sailing ship a supperior speed over them. Some of the sloops could do pretty well against a SOL but it wouldn't be quite as clear cut. The sloops would really be best for sending after frigates, other light ships, and scouting missions. A lot of the battle is going to depend on the the wind even in a one on one battle. The problem for the Union Navy though is that they have only a few ships that have to protect an entire coast. The British on the other hand have a lot of inferior ships that they'll be able to concentrate and work in packs together.

If you are in a steam frigate and facing a pack of three or four ships of line escorted by a handful of sloops and frigates you are in a very bad position. You only have enough guns to engage one or two targets at a time. You can grab the weather gauge and force them to tack but you are always running the risk of someone slipping in close enough to do damage to you while you are concentrating on one ship. Or you might be forced up against the coast or into another British squadron. And that's assuming your boiler doesn't pick this moment to fail. A little bad luck and you could end up within range of British long guns and that could spell disaster.
On the other hand, a sailing fleet could (very likely would) be immobilised by an offshore wind and at the mercy of a steam powered opponent; running and abandoning the objective or fighting vastly superior opponents at extreme disadvantage would be the options there.

Worse for the sailing fleet would be a situation involving an attempted operation with an onshore wind and a steam powered force with the weather gauge sandwiching you between a hostile coast and themselves.
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Post by Sea Skimmer » 2007-11-05 03:50pm

Chevron_Seven wrote: It tool the USS Kearsarge an hour of straight up fighting before she managed to make the Alabama strike her colors and this was after firing around 150 times at her.
173 rounds in fact, of which only 55 came from the big 11in Dalhgrens, the rest from much smaller 32, 30 and 12 pdr guns. This sufficed to reduce Alabama to a blazing wreck and outright sink her, something which is not at all typical of engagement between sailing ships armed only with shot guns. Kearsarge meanwhile took 28 hits in reply, every one of them a projectile on par in weight with British naval guns of the previous century (and some of them 100lb shells of substantially greater power), and suffered no significant damage thanks to almost all the shells being duds.

No one said the American ships would win battles in minutes, but overall the Alabama vs. Kearsarge shows just how much more destructive shellfire is against solid shot. Remember that in the 18th century a major defeat in a battle between ships of the line typically saw only a few SOLs wrecked or captured, and it was very rare for one to actually sink. Even if the American frigates only sank one or two SOLs each, after six hours shelling, that would still be an enormous loss of the RN.
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Post by Adrian Laguna » 2007-11-05 06:27pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:
Adrian Laguna wrote: The designer of the Monitor was enraged when he heard about the battle. According to him, Virginia would have been handily defeated had the crew used explosive shot and aimed for the water-line. They used solid shot and aimed for the upper works.
Umm, no, that is not what he claimed.

-snip for length-
You now, that actually makes a dammed sight more sense than what I thought happened.
Actually the supposed range advantage of civil war rifles was in practice almost irrelevant in combat, and rifle armed regiments proved little more effective then those with smoothbores. Everyone still fought at just 100 yards or less, and accuracy was still dismal owing to a lack of ammunition for training. These weapons would simply not be an overwhelming advantage.
Doesn't the widespread use of cartridges give them a refire rate advantage?

Also, I'm pretty sure ACW armies did have a significant advantage in one thing: artillery. There was more of it, it was used better, and it was of better quality.[/quote]

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Post by lord Martiya » 2007-11-05 06:55pm

And, I suppose, ACW Armies had some machine guns. At least, I remember that the first Gatling machine guns were designed for that war, but I don't remember if they actually used them. If yes, on land warfare British armies will be slaughtered like the Tommies on the Somme during WWI.

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Post by Sea Skimmer » 2007-11-05 07:00pm

Adrian Laguna wrote: Doesn't the widespread use of cartridges give them a refire rate advantage?
Not really. It made it easier to train men to use the gun and to have a consistent rate of fire, but pretty much all muzzle loaders would fire at the same rate of about 3rpm. A very well trained user of either type of weapon could get off 4-5rpm.
Also, I'm pretty sure ACW armies did have a significant advantage in one thing: artillery. There was more of it, it was used better, and it was of better quality.
They certainly do, though the range and accuracy advantage of rifled guns was partly offset by the much smaller shells and canister charges. The Union Army actually wanted rifled to smoothbore guns in a 1:2 ratio because of this, but technology minded officials in the procurement office couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t want as many rifles as possible. As a result they ended up with 2:1 in favor of the rifled guns.

Overall a Union force of about 6,000 men wouldn’t have more then a few artillery batteries, and could be in trouble if the entire British Army (about 48,000 men in 1776) faced off against them. However that won’t happen, because Union naval forces will cripple the British ability to move and supply a large army, and the Union troops will have thousands of Continentals in support anyway.

The largest single British force ever historically fielded in North America was about 22,000 men in comparison, half of them mercenaries, at the Battle of Long Island. Even after hiring 30,000 mercenary Hessians they never had more then 60,000 men available in total. By the terms of the thread, the British getting there own entire army in 1775 would actually leave them WEAKER then there historical peak strength!

With such a powerful force at its core, the Continental Army will be stronger, and the British loyalist forces much weaker. The British are just totally fucked in a war they lost anyway.
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